What is a Chemical Peel?
A chemical peel is most commonly performed for cosmetic reasons, to enhance appearance and self-confidence. Chemical peel therapy may be performed in conjunction with other treatments. However a chemical peel is not a replacement for a facelift, and does not prevent or slow down the ageing process.
Chemical peeling uses a chemical solution in order to improve the skin’s appearance. It can reduce or eliminate fine lines under the eyes and around the mouth, correct uneven skin pigmentation, treat acne and soften the appearance of scars caused by acne. The procedure can also reduce the appearance of wrinkles caused by sun damage as well as skin blemishes common with age and heredity. Chemical peels can be performed on the face, hands and all other body areas.
What conditions can improve with treatment?
Age and liver spots (lentigines) usually categorized by flat, brown areas with round edges usually found on the face, hands, back and feet. They are age-related and photoageing related, and have nothing to do with the liver. While they are unsightly, they are not usually dangerous. Solar keratosis and hyperpigmented areas due to the hormonal changes and photo damage.
What is TCA?
Trichloacetic acid (TCA) can be successful in the effective treatment of:
- Reduction of smooth fine surface wrinkles
- Reduction of superficial blemishes
- Correction of pigment problems
- Reduction of Acne/Acne Scarring
Anaesthesia is not required for TCA peels. Two or more TCA peels may be required overall several courses to obtain the desired improvements.
TCA Peel patients are advised to avoid sun exposure and to use a minimum protection sunblock of SPF30 for several weeks following treatment. Failure to comply with this recommendation may produce some unintended colour changes in the skin.
People with Active Acne also require skin preparation with the purifying cream two weeks prior to TCA peels.
How is treatment administered?
The procedure involves a chemical solution that is applied to the skin. The solution causes the layer of skin to separate and peel off. The new regenerated skin underneath is usually smoother, less wrinkled and more even in both tone and colour than the old skin.
How long will the treatment take?
Typically the skin is first thoroughly cleansed. Then the practitioner will carefully apply the TCA solution. You may feel a stinging sensation as the peel solution is applied, but the feeling will quickly pass.
A full face TCA peel usually takes no more than 15 minutes. Each course duration is four weeks to eight weeks and one peel each 1-14 days. Two or more courses of TCA peels may be needed to obtain the desired result, and may be spaced out over several months.
How can I find out if I am a candidate for treatment?
If you would like to learn more about available cosmetic options, and find out if TCA peel treatment might work for you, please call and arrange an appointment for a consultation with the practitioner.
Are there any medical exclusions?
Pregnant or breastfeeding women should wait to be treated. If you have a history of cold sores, you should inform the doctor prior to the procedure. You may be better suited to an alternative treatment or product. The practitioner will review your medical history with you during your initial consultation prior to administering any treatment.
During your initial consultation it is important that you discuss your expectations with the treatment practitioner. Don’t hesitate to ask any questions or express any concerns that you may have. You will be able to ask any treatment related questions and the practitioner will explain the planned procedure in detail, including the risks and benefits, the recovery period and the costs.
Possible side effects
All products have a potential for allergic reactions. It is important that the patient informs the practitioner of any allergies they may have.
Transient reactions may include redness to the skin, itchiness, dryness and in some cases swelling.
It is common for most patients to experience transient hyperpigmentation. This will settle during the course of treatments and with use of the appropriate treatment creams and sun protection.
There may be in some cases a risk of blistering.
Expected reactions immediately following a peel
Increased feeling of heat to the skin being treated
Patients may experience an itchy feeling
Expected treatment outcomes
Immediately post peel the patient leaves the clinic with the post peel mask applied. This is translucent and non-oily. The skin may look slightly red for a couple of hours and will generally feel uncomfortable. The patient should not touch the skin, apply any creams or use water on the face and avoid extremes of heat exposure and sun exposure.
The skin will begin to feel tight and the treatment creams recommended should be applied morning and night. Sun protection at least factor 30 should be applied.
Some pigmentation change may be noticed at this stage as the skin begins to dry and may start to flake. The treatment creams recommended should be used at least twice daily.
The skin continues to peel and the healing process takes place. The patient should continue with the recommended creams and sun protection.
The patient should not attempt to peel off the skin or use abrasives, scrub creams or products containing AHA’s or retinol.
Fitzpatrick Skin Type: Ethnic Skin Type:
Skin Type 1 - Always burns Celtic / freckly skin / red hair
Skin Type 2 - Readily burns / sometimes tans English rose/pale pink skin/blue eyes
Skin Type 3 - Rarely burns/ always tans North European
Skin Type 4 - Mediterranean Mediterranean/ light Asian/ Oriental
Skin Type 5 - Asian & Indian skin Dark Asian
Skin Type 6 - Afro Caribbean skin Black
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